White Space

Monday, January 15, 2018


I had been looking forward to today.

A day free of people.
A day free of timelines.
A day to sleep in.
A day to take a walk.
A day to grocery shop.
A day to get coffee.
A day to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.

A day to write.

A day to create.

A day with a clear mind.

See that –> white space ————————>

It’s Monday, so the gardeners are here.  Fresh cut grass fills the air, and, while the mowers are blaring I have KJazz on, and I am here.  In my own space.  My own white space.  I get this maybe once a week, if I don’t screw it up the night before.

Today is also an important holiday.  So many things have been happening in our country that make the holiday this year that more impactful.  Every year I find myself in solitude on this day.  The present political situation has us thinking more about civil rights than ever, and not just on this day.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was a voice for so many people and continues to be today.

I didn’t mean to title this post with “White Space” to be an ironic metaphor in some way to the present holiday.  It’s actually an interesting coincidence, as I literally meant it to be about white space creatively (you’ll know if you read the link).  But today is not just about one color.  It’s about equality of all humans, regardless of race or gender.  So that white space is actually meant to be in color – it’s meant to be not be white.  White clothes, white bedsheets, white clothes, even white skin – does not stay white forever.  And America was never white to begin with.

Anywho.  I hope you’re enjoying your Monday, whether you have it off or not.  Just take a moment to remember this guy and be proud of how far we’ve come (yet still have far to go).

I’ll leave you with some of my own personal white space (we don’t have much, and thank goodness I dusted recently!).

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~ rahlala ~

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2017 Photo Recap

Tuesday – January 2, 2018


As we glide into the new year of 2018, my mind wanders two years into the future when we eliminate “two thousand” from our current year and just say the year is “twenty twenty”.  Mind blown.

Meanwhile, here in 2018, I’m taking a look back at 2017.  As I put the photos together of the year, it definitely puts it into perspective.  I was photographer for multiple babies and almost exclusively for a friend and up and coming eco fashion designer.  I still continue to spend most of my free time with my fiance and my dog, but rarely get photos of the three of us together (or even just the two of us humans together).  In fact, unless it’s for a shoot, I’m often forgetting to take photos of the people in my life and this is frustrating almost directly because of social media.  I probably shouldn’t feel this way, but when I look back, most of the photos I take are of things and of my dog.  And selfies.  I used photography initially as a way to document where my mind wanders (color, light, shapes, cute things, nature, a way to make me feel good about myself) and gave me an out to be the dazed artist and not totally sociable.  I still manage to be sociable and no one would know the difference, but often I feel lonely and lately – losing my creativity and whatever spark I used to have to bad self esteem and feeling out of place.

This is probably not where I should be a few months before I get married, but I am there.  I have been there for a long time.  I wouldn’t say the last year has been difficult really, like everyone out there keeps saying (“2017 was tough, leave that shit behind, blah blah blah”).  It wasn’t bad and it was that great either, but only because of my own personal setbacks.  I look forward to the new year just like everyone else, but I’m trying to be smarter about my approach to making healthier changes and just continue the baby steps to get there.

So on the second day of the year, I’m just going to take it one day at a time.  With Minimal Enjoyable Actions (MEA – thanks to my Shine texts I now get daily).  No goals, just forming tiny behaviors that will eventually contribute to an overall life habit.

Check out my last year below!

(January 2017)

2017 jan1

So many baby’s first birthday parties and photo shoots in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, shooting with Ellerali and her amazing eco fashion line, and a quick trip to Atascadero to visit friends for football and fun (and they have the most amazing house and location/views).

(February 2017)

2017 jan2

2017 feb

February gets two columns because a lot happened.  More shoots with Ellerali, my birthday (not pictured, and I can’t even remember what we did), a work colleague passed away and I organized his memorial in Burbank, we said good-bye to a faithful old ottoman that came from mine and Stacy’s old apartment couch set (bought from an old work friend and was Buffy’s bed), did an adorable shoot with a brother and sister and a red tutu (I die) and I organized another work event for the Oscar’s night.  Phew!

March 2017

2017 March

More… babies…  All adorable, but wowza.  An engagement party for a dear college friend (which I photographed), a trip to the Poppy fields when they were in full bloom, and got a rare dino shot (who have been unfortunately neglected by me last year).

April 2017

2017 april1

2017 april2

April also gets more photos because of all that went on.  My mom came out to visit and we drove up to the Central Coast to look at wedding dresses (failed at one place, found the first attempt at a wedding dress which wasn’t really a wedding a dress), visited Montana de Oro – a gorgeous beach with fields and mountains and fog, etc, also visiting Morro Bay because I love it there, then back home to take more baby photos and party photos and selfies.  Bam.

May 2017

2017 May

Spring brought the Jacarandas (purple trees) and wind – which cancelled our balloon ride, but I hung out with Elle of Ellerali for more photos and adventures.

June 2017

2017 june

More babies!  And battleships.  Eddie’s sister, Stacy (hugging the canon above), got married in October (more to come), and we got out and about to Huntington Beach and back to the good old Hiltscher Trail in Fullerton.

July 2017

2017 july

More Ellerali and good food from a cool new mexican joint (that up and moved away already) and by Eddie – a delicious Italian pasta for the 4th of July (hehe), and – I took our own engagement photos for our Save the Dates!

August 2017

2017 Aug

I head up to San Francisco to go to Stacy’s Bridal Shower (anchor themed!) and Bachelorette Party in the city, took more photos for Ellerali, then flew to Dallas, Texas to visit my mom and stepdad for a few days – leaving with a book from my mom – “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.”  LOVE.  Kept taking photos of quotes and there were SO many.  Also not pictured – I organized a Film Fest contest for my work which was pretty awesome.

September 2017

2017 Sept.jpg

I organized a Bring Your Kid to Work Day + Picnic for work this month (yeah, work has been super busy this whole time and things keep changing and so it might explain why I feel like I started to lose my creativity – I was putting it somewhere else).  Meanwhile – more babies, but this time in bellies – twins!  Too cute of a shoot with red converse.  Also Eddie made this ridiculous breakfast sandwich one day with a baguette from Lee’s sandwich, maple sausages and over easy eggs and holy shit – now this is an egg slut sandwich.  And me – the other egg slut.  HA.  (I love eggs.)

October 2017

2017 Oct

Another double dose of photos for October because this month was a big one.. and I didn’t even include my Halloween costume!  (I was Janis Joplin.)  The big news here is that Eddie’s sister, Stacy, got married to her beau of 7 years – Mike (an old friend of mine – you could say I technically introduced them!).  They wed on the USS Iowa in San Pedro and it was fucking awesome.  Eddie and I were in the wedding party and had a blast.  They both have amazing families who we got to know well, and what was more fun is that the party continued 26 miles out at sea in Catalina Island.  Almost 30 people went to continue the celebrations for 2-3 days with the bride and groom and it was so fun!  Bike riding, BBQing, day drinking, relaxing and all on a place that felt like a small tropical island.  When we finally got home I continued a good photo run in a small moment of creative spark.

November 2017

2017 nov

In good timing (not being sarcastic), I got sick in November but worked my way through it in time to be healthy again for our roadtrip to the Bay Area for Thanksgiving at Eddie’s aunt’s house in Fremont.  It was like the wedding all over again and great to see the family so often.  We got randomly upgraded to a Mustang and it was the shit.  Thanksgiving was amazing (Eddie’s family knows food, man) and no- that was not our real turkey!

December 2017

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Another twofer!  And December gets extra special because after a few months of not really using my real camera, I did pull it out for Christmas.  In December we took off for Dallas, Texas (after this year I feel somewhat like a jet-setter!) so Eddie could see what it was like and we’d get to celebrate his birthday and our 8th dating anniversary (and see my parents of course!).  We stayed in Deep Ellum for a couple nights in an Air BnB loft and explored bars and breweries and food, then went back to Lake Dallas where my parents live to recover and spend our final days there.  We had amazing food, amazing BBQ at the Pecan Lodge and Braindead Brewery.  Back in Orange County it was finally getting cold so we could put on our holiday sweaters and put up the tree.  For Christmas Eve and Day we spent it in Echo Park with Eddie’s sister, her husband and their parents visiting from the Bay.  Another amazing meal was had and Christmas Day was gorgeous.

I made it a point to get photos of everyone:

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And the three of us  🙂

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Cheers to 2018!

Yay Should Never End with a Period

Riding the train backwards this morning. Listening to Air. Spotted this colorful palm on the side of the tracks with the rising sun beaming through it, and really – look at it. Spectacular tones. Fall affects palm trees, too.

Another day. My last day of having to go into work, so yay for my Friday. Yay. You know someone is being sarcastic when they type “Yay.”. Yay should never end with a period, at least when it comes to truly being excited about something. Or something you should be excited about but aren’t. Which is where I’m sitting. Not excited, but should be. I’m looking forward to not having to work for four days, but I’ll be by myself for two of those days. Then spending the next two days with my fiancé’s family, whom I love dearly, but as per usual – I don’t always feel like I fit in. We’ve all witnessed each other’s breakdowns. FIL’s anxiety, BIL’s weak stomach for all the heavy beer and rich food he consumes, my fiancé and SIL who can drink me under the table, and me. Also with anxiety and stomach issues and tends to just fall asleep when drunk.

The train is rocking back and forth now, passengers swaying back and forth. This happens on slight curves as we go a little faster. “LA Union Station is our next stop,”

says the automated announcer. There’s a point just pass the city of Vernon where the train goes over a bridge that passes over the LA river. The train is so high up you feel like you could tip over.

That’s what happened in Washington recently. The DuPont crash over the I-5. Amtrak was going to fast around a curve and derailed the whole train. Crazy.

Anywho, I’m going to try and enjoy it. I have plans to make Christmosas and mint chocolate chip cookies, along with take a bunch of fun photos with my big camera (that I’ve barely touched in months). I’m also hopeful that I can work out Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So those are the goals, let’s see how I do. I’ll keep you posted.

Limbo, Lunch Bunch & Evening Walks

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


pleasestandby

I know we all spend time in limbo, wondering where our life is going to go, but lately I’ve felt as though my life, my mood, my emotions are totally in limbo.  I’m fine.  Not happy, not sad, not mad, just.. fine.  I’m excited for certain things, but everything is on hold until I feel good again.  Every day is a struggle.. a fiiiine struggle.  It’s not terrible, it could be worse, or it could be a lot better.  The only thing I look forward to is coming home, but even while I’m there, being at home I just find myself waiting for something else to happen.  Something to get better.  Something to make me feel anything but fine.

Even my music habits have changed.  I hardly listen on the train and in my car all I listen to is KJazz.  Sometimes I think I just miss a good road trip alone where I can listen to what I want and not have to think about traffic – just drive.  No one to turn down the volume or change the song because they don’t like it.  Just me and my choices.

This limbo state is here for a reason.  I haven’t been working out, eating well or minimizing my drinking.  It all goes to shit real fast.  Everything I’m doing wrong is numbing me to a life I could have.  And sure, it might get better eventually and for a while, but how do I break this cycle?  How do I stay on track indefinitely?  Why does it feel like it’s just me who cares about this?  (There’s only one person I know that really cares about this as much as I do, and cares about me as much as I want to care about myself.  Take a wild guess.)

I’m coming back to this blog (and will continue to say that) in hopes that I can get my shit straight again.  So I can write through my days, to help put some feeling to my experiences.  So many blogs write consistently, but write only positive things.  I’ve already learned that I cannot keep up with a positive outlook most of the time.  My writing is to help shed some light on my darkness.

So today I had lunch with a few lady friends – friends who I’ve know for at least 7-8 years or more through work and school.  This particular group has been meeting up for regular lunches in the last year and have talked and ate our way through personal events and announcement, let alone the work chatter.  Fortunately they’re not just co-workers, but really friends.  They make an effort to hang out, even if lunches during our work day is really how it all comes together.  We’re all moving from one milestone to the next, sharing it with each other along the way (marriages, relationship woes, work changes, life).  Our humor is aligned and it’s a supportive and nurturing group of women.  As I write about this, I am truly grateful to have these women in my life.  I spend a lot of time thinking about the relationships I don’t have and sometimes fear I’ll forever be somewhat bitter towards the term ‘best friend’ or ‘bestie’.

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But that’s just me.  It always has been and after 32 years, it has not changed.  I’ve become more outwardly social, but internally I’m cringing non-stop.  I find myself avoiding people where I can, and in Socal that’s not easy.

Back to the the lovely Lunch Bunch.  They are lovely, and we are close, and to be honest I wish we could hang out more.  But we all have lives that revolve around a boy, and well – sometimes that annoys me too.

So tonight I took a walk with my dog on my own.  The fella hasn’t been up to a walk together in days and I’m at a point where if I don’t get some exercise I’m going to explode.

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It was a good walk on a nice evening.  We jogged a bit and worked up a sweat as we watched the sun go down and the horizon turn pink.  At one point I reveled in the fact that it was rush hour and, as we crossed over the 91 freeway, I caught the northbound side totally packed and the southbound side completely empty.  It’s a rare moment to see an empty patch of freeway in SoCal.

Death by Grilled Cheese

Monday, December 18, 2017


I had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich today.  I walked around the cafeteria and suddenly found myself in front of the sandwich melts counter and before I even know what was happening, a “grilled ham and cheese please.. with curly fries” came rolling out of my mouth.

After days and weeks of me telling myself that I’m going to stop drinking, stop over-eating and maybe finally work out again (after almost a month now) – I keep having a glass of wine because it’s there, eating to much the next day from the inevitable hangover and not having the energy to work out also because of said wine.  It’s been a very vicious cycle this round and I feel almost powerless to it.  The cheese from the sandwich started to jump around in my stomach with sudden proclamations from in my gut – heeelllLLLOOOooo!  So loud my cubicle neighbor could most likely hear it.  To the point where I suddenly shuffle or cough loudly when I know it’s coming.  I weakly ate half of a dismal apple afterwards to hopefully ward off any cheesy convos from within my stomach during a meeting.

So dumb.  I almost went to the gym tonight but I chose wine instead.  I think I’m getting close to retaliation, but right now I feel pretty weak against it and no one else is putting pressure on me, but me.

I’m also tired of my pants feeling tight.

So let’s hope that maybe if I start blogging again, I will internally counsel myself back into a positive mindset and hopefully some motivation to endure the pain to get back to where I was.  Because I’m already in pain for NOT doing what I need to do.

March Me (to Spring)+

(Wednesday, March 1, 2017)


     Following along the usual patterns of each year, I found myself today suddenly slipping from the edge of February and into a deep and elusive March.  Spring is just around the corner, spools of cool and warm air move in and out – trying to decide when we will feel the arrival of the Equinox and its seasonal (and in SoCal, somewhat eternal) warm breeze. It never quite goes away, but March brings a reminder that we are tired of the frosty repetition.  Tired of our brittle crust, static cling and chapped lips.  Ready for moisture, warmth and light.  The evidence is there..

Birthday tulips, sunrise palms, afternoon branches and dog walk shadows.
Golden hour peaks during Spring and Fall and oh how I love it so….

+So up until this point I’ve managed to be thoughtful and poignant.  Now I am lost.  I want to bring up my real life and what’s been happening, but as usual I feel hesitant.  I feel busy.  I feel tired.  I want to share, but it’s become apparent that I was once a great writer, but maybe not so much anymore.  I’ll tell you what I’m really good at – work emails.  Succinct and to the point, demanding but still nice.  I try to write a blog and I’ll I can recall are facts and no creativity.  I thought of it all before, on the way to work or on the way home, but as soon as I get here – I lose it.  It’s hard to find those creative moments and when I do, I usually “don’t have time”. Or I’m just tired and my brain has shut off.

I’m so tired of people being busy.  Is it just me?  That’s life, you say.  So WHAT, I say.  I’m fuckin busy but I still make time for people.  They just don’t make time for me.  I keep thinking that if your life is all about some job (and it always is), then how do you really have a life?  Work hard until you’re 50 until it finally pays off?  Work hard until it never pays off and you have a heart attack and die or decide to sit on a sidewalk curb for the rest of your days?  I feel like the main struggle I have sometimes is just to try and not be a shitty person because of my own personal needs for my well-being.

We have to take care of ourselves, but then we also have to give, give, give.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a giver.  I don’t even know what I am anymore.  People seem to like me, a lot, but I’m always lacking in true friendships (or just someone that will give me their time).  I give at work as much as I can, but even then – I find myself thinking that I wouldn’t be doing this unless I had to.  I have to think about everyone else and their needs and foresee future priorities and shit, and so it’s no wonder my personal life gets the shit end of the stick.  I don’t have time to send cards and gifts in the mail – also gifts that are thoughtful and super relevant.  I can clean and wash dishes and make everything tidy AF, but in the end people really don’t seem to care about that.  But I do, care.

My creative work is important, but so I can make a paycheck I feel like I’m abandoning the creative person I really could be.  And while this seems very sad (to me, at least), I know that in life you have to make sacrifices.  You have to deal with people not noticing you until you stir up the pot enough to make a difference.  Or stir it up enough with controversy and you have no choice but to choose the path you were to afraid to choose in the first place.

If I didn’t have Eddie I’d probably be living back in Santa Cruz under a rock.

Silver lining.

It’s just one of those days where I finally chose to write about the things I’ve been thinking about.  Constantly.  I’m always contemplating life and if I chose the right path for me.  And feeling like the path I’m currently on isn’t that easy to side-step anymore.  As much as I want to go off the beaten path, I can’t.
Not yet.

+

ashw

February Me

(Thursday, February 2, 2017)


rah-hearts1-web
Moi – February 2016

Oh hey, I guess those endorphins wore off a bit.  That and my life (and yours and theirs and ours) is being drained by political overload.  But, it’s not just political anymore.  Decisions are being made that are starting to paint a vivid picture of how America is truly divided by morals vs. self advantage.  I understand that, in life, we have to sometimes stop and put ourselves first.  Because it’s the only way to save your sanity.  Because giving too much of yourself can waste you away.  But even though I understand that, doesn’t mean I do not feel for those that are directly affected by what’s going on in this country.  And I AM someone affected by what’s going on.  Emotionally, personally, and by association.  There are too many parallels to past histories of different countries who succumbed to a leader not fit for the role they managed to obtain.

So.

While I have been engrossed in political banter, conversation and social media news shocks since he got elected – recently I chose to shut it off for a while.  Not a long while, but enough to regain a small sense of peace.  And then I started to focus on the lighthearted things that I could post to break up the newsfeed.  But I also hate the fact that some of those just remain completely silent about politics.  I can’t stay quiet.  Not when so many things are going so wrong, and one man stands at the top of it saying one dumb thing after another.  Big.  Huge.  Great. Take away.  Ban. Wall. Pussies. Nope.  Nope nope nope. What the fuck is going on, my fellow Americans.

Well, there’s this:

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And this:

–> Agent Orange <–
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So a couple of things that make me feel a slice better.

Let’s make it a great Friday, y’all.